No one looks forward to having their wisdom teeth removed — but a new trend on TikTok purports to reduce swelling and make the procedure less difficult.
The "hack" is pretty simple: Drink pineapple juice. The real difficulty is the amount of pineapple juice: TikTok users are recommending drinking 64 ounces, or half a gallon's worth, of the beverage.
One woman shared a video of herself with no swelling after the surgery. A second woman posted a two-minute video of herself drinking the juice throughout the day and noting that after surgery, she had "minimal swelling" and "zero pain."
Does pineapple juice help with wisdom teeth removal?
If you are going to have your wisdom teeth removed and you're worried about swelling or other aftereffects, Dr. Brittany Seymour, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association, said it's best to talk to the dentist who will be doing the extraction. Seymour also highlighted how different people may react to the surgery.
"Wisdom teeth can be a very unique experience for everybody ... For this (TikTok user), that may have been her experience, it could have been coincidence, being that up to 90% of people have no complications with their wisdom teeth extractions," Seymour said. "It's hard to say if there's any true scientific connection behind pineapple juice and (having) a better experience with wisdom tooth extraction."
Kristin Kirkpatrick, lead dietitian at Cleveland Clinic Wellness & Preventive Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, said that there is some reason to believe pineapple juice might help with swelling: The beverage is high in an enzyme called bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory effects including the reduction of swelling.
"Pineapple tends to be one of the only plants out there that really has this enzyme, so it's very specific to pineapple," Kirkpatrick said.
Registered dietitian Samantha Cassetty said there have been "some small studies demonstrating" an anti-inflammatory effect from bromelain supplements, but said that at the same there have been studies "showing no effects."
"It's kind of unclear or hard to say just how helpful that would be ... It's hard to tell if pineapple juice would have the same effect as what we've seen in studies," Cassetty said. Kirkpatrick agreed that the data is "inconclusive."
Seymour said that different factors, such as the health of your teeth or other health conditions, could also affect how a person recovers after surgery.
"I always recommend having those conversations with a dentist or oral surgeon about how they can prepare for a better surgical experience, both before and what steps they can take after to make sure they can reduce or prevent swelling and pain," Seymour said.
Cassetty warned that there are some concerns associated with drinking too much pineapple juice: If you drink 64 ounces in one sitting, you might wind up dealing with things like "nausea, gas, bloating, diarrhea" and other mild symptoms because of the amount of sugar in pineapple juice. Seymour said that she would also be concerned about the amount of "sugar and acid" in that much pineapple juice, and noted that too much of the acidic beverage could damage tooth enamel.
What other properties does pineapple juice have?
While there have been some bold claims, like pineapple juice being able to help with weight loss or benefiting libido, Kirkpatrick said that the real benefit of pineapple is its range of "different vitamins and minerals."
Pineapple juice is rich in vitamin C, which can help boost the immune system, Kirkpatrick explained. Pineapple juice also has B vitamins and folate.
However, the best way to get these vitamins is by eating pineapple fruit, instead of the drinking the juice. The acidity of the drink can damage tooth enamel, and the beverage is high in sugar and calories.
"Pineapple juice is a step more processed than a cup of pineapple," said Cassetty. "Our dietary guidelines suggest limiting juice intake to eight ounces a day of 100% fruit juice ... (Drinking 64 ounces), you'd really be exceeding that recommendation."
When patients have asked her about weight loss, Kirkpatrick said she typically advises against "drinking your calories."
"I want most of their calories coming in from food that they have to chew, just because we know it's more satisfying, it's more fulfilling," Kirkpatrick said. "It has more satiation."
Is it OK to drink pineapple juice daily?
While dietary guidelines do allow for eight ounces of 100% fruit juice daily for adults, Kirkpatrick said that she would be concerned if a patient began drinking pineapple juice daily in large amounts.
"If this is a one time thing, it's not a big deal, but if it gets to the point where you're looking at pineapple juice as an anti-inflammatory for every aspect in life, and you're going to have daily large amounts, that's when I would start pointing out ... some of the downfalls of having a very high sugar diet," Kirkpatrick said.